Oregon lawmakers question EPA’s pesticide rule changes

Lawmakers from Oregon took a stand earlier this week for pollinators.

Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, expressed concerns over the recent decision of the Environmental Protection Agency to approve new uses and lift restrictions for sulfoxaflor. Sulfoxaflor, also marketed as Isoclast, is a systemic insecticide that acts as an insect neurotoxin and is a member of a class of chemicals called sulfoximines, which act on the central nervous system of insects.

The pesticide poses a danger to pollinators, according to the agency.

“These new approved uses come at a time when colonies are dying at alarming rates,” the lawmakers, all Democrats, wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“This is particularly concerning, given that pollinators are an invaluable component of our nation’s food production. In Oregon alone, specialty crops like blueberries, marionberries, raspberries, and pears depend upon bees and other pollinators.”